Fun for Kids of all Ages…Even if it is a Bit Confusing for Adults
Even though I’m a 26 year-old male, I’m not afraid to admit I enjoyed the first Narnia film quite a bit. Though I’m not the type to read any or all of C.S. Lewis’ books, and have yet to see this film, I enjoyed the amount of cool characters, and the battle scenes were pretty epic. I actually enjoyed much of this game-even if it is intended for children and pre-teens. And while the slow pace of this linear adventure isn’t exactly packed with action, Prince Caspian is very well suited for a young age group and looks pretty good on the PS2.
You begin the game with the ability to switch between four characters: a dwarf, a minotaur, a centaur, and a faun. Each has its own unique ability that will help you throughout the game. The dwarf, for instance, can crawl into small spaces. The minotaur is equipped with more strength, and the centaur can gallop quickly. The game starts you off in Cair Paravel, and with actual cutscenes from the film you are brought into the storyline. With all four characters you are to perform certain tasks, eventually allowing you to open the drawbridge of Cair Paravel and take part in the massive battle outside castle walls. After doing so, you learn how your characters can team up with others in the game. With the minotaur, you are required to hop onto a giant’s back and smash down enemy catapults with the full power of the giant in your hands. Playing as the giant in certain parts of the game is actually pretty cool, as they have the ability to pick up enemy soldiers, swing them around, and throw them away. With the battle happening all around you, there is a lot of activity in this game. Enemies are extremely easy to defeat with simple heavy (Square) and light (X) attack buttons, and by using L2 or R2 to block. Left analog moves your character around, and it can be a bit awkward to direct strikes at particular enemies, and players will be forced to simply button-mash in combat. Keeping in mind this is a children’s game, one can’t expect too detailed fighting mechanics, though they could have been made a tad more accurate in Prince Caspian.
Hitting Circle when prompted to do actions such as open a treasure chest or pull down a lever, will allow you to grab onto it. Tapping X repeatedly after doing so will give you the leverage to open, pull, push, and move the various objects. Opening chests unlocks various bonuses and apparently the odd video clip, though it’s questionable how much value these “bonuses” actually have. Most times, it seems like opening these chests is simply the game’s way of killing time. Traveling back and forth through levels to find objects and having to tap X so much to move them is pretty annoying.
The game promotes the fact that it has 20 different playable characters including Reepicheep, Wimbleweather, and Caspian himself. The Pevensie children are introduced to the game by a lengthy cutscenes from the film. I guess in the movie a train goes by them and all of a sudden “magic” happens, and they’re in Narnia. Unfortunately, playing as the children is a lot less entertaining than playing as mythological creatures, as the kids spend most of their time traveling through maze-like environments, solving problems, and opening doors to get from one end to the other. It’s a tad tedious and actually pretty confusing at times, as your tasks include finding particular objects to piece together in dark-lit atmospheres. I found myself wandering around aimlessly for lengthy amounts of time to find certain objects such as lever handles, which got pretty discouraging and boring, and made me think how much trouble a ten year-old would have playing this game.
At times, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian feels somewhat cluttered with four different characters constantly following your every move, especially within confined spaces. As you try to maneuver around and complete tasks, sometimes your teammates get more in your way than help you, and with oncoming attackers constantly trying to stop you, the game does tend to feel pretty crowded at times. That being said, even with the massive battle happening outside of Cair Paravel and the amount of characters shown onscreen at the same time, I found no slowdown or framerate errors whatsoever. Prince Caspian works well on the PS2 console and looks extremely good when compared to other adventure-themed titles like it.
Aimed at children, there are lots of cutscenes taken from the actual film, in addition to lengthy CGI cutscenes to watch as you play this game. The mix of the two is a nice touch. Some of it is actually pretty entertaining, as you watch parts of the film and some well-done animations that look remarkably good on the PS2. It gives the game a very cinematic feel, and anyone who enjoys Prince Caspian will enjoy how the game and film are brought together.
While this game can be very slow-paced, it does have good entertainment value. And as tedious as this game is, it can actually get pretty hectic as you defeat armies of soldiers, archers, and larger enemy bosses wearing a good amount of armor. This game is surprisingly good considering it is a licensed package, and anyone who enjoys the Narnia films will be happy to be thrust into the land of Narnia with this game. Just keep in mind the age group it is intended for.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.7 Graphics
Character designs and environments are impressive on this PS2 version. A blend of CGI cutscenes and scenes from the film is a nice touch as well. 2.9 Control
Controls function as they should for this type of skill level, though maneuvering around in cluttered areas and targeting attacks can be awkward. 3.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Good music from the film. Some of the sound effects are a bit off. 3.5 Play Value
Fans of the film with time on their hands will enjoy this game, even if it does become tedious at times. 3.5 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.